The Arizona Cardinals have eight picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, including No. 15 in the first round April 26 in Arlington, Tex.
Here is a look at the Cardinals’ five-year draft record with roster tallies reflecting totals as of the end of the 2017 season. Below that are the team’s current needs heading into this draft and our projection for all their 2018 picks.
CARDINALS’ FIVE-YEAR DRAFT BREAKDOWN
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
TOTAL PICKS 9 7 7 6 7
STARTERS 1 3 3 1 3
BACKUPS 0 1 2 3 3
OTHER TEAMS 5 2 0 2 1
OUT OF LEAGUE 3 1 2 0 0
TOP 3 NEEDS IN 2018 DRAFT
1. Quarterback: Given Sam Bradford‘s injury history and Glennon’s almost immediate failure in Chicago, there doesn’t seem to be much of a reason to think the Cardinals are capable of even replicating an 8-8 finish again let alone expect to make the playoffs. As bad as Bradford’s knees are, he might not even make it out of training camp or the preseason. Mike Glennon, meanwhile, can’t seriously be considered any type of a long-term solution. That means Arizona has to turn its attention to the draft and either bite the bullet to move up from the 15th overall pick to get one of the top four quarterback prospects or roll the dice that a franchise-type quarterback will be there at 15. However it happens, the Cardinals know they have to address this position in a serious and swift tone. They need a young quarterback they finally can build around and everyone knows it.
2. Cornerback: As good as the Cardinals’ defense has been over the past four or five seasons, it’s always going to be exploited on one side of the field until the team finds a suitable starter at cornerback to play opposite Patrick Peterson. They have tried every year to find a suitable one on the cheap and have had moments of both success and failure. But they haven’t been able to identify and sign a capable corner for the long haul, which is only hurting Peterson, who is in his prime. Even if they think Bene Benwikere might be the answer, and that’s doubtful, the Cardinals need to address the position in this year’s draft and likely do it with one of their first two picks.
3. Wide receiver: When a 35-year-old is your only real threat, you know you’re behind the 8-ball, even if the soon-to-be, 35-year-old is named Larry Fitzgerald. Though the veteran has had his three most productive NFL seasons in each of the last three years, it’s difficult to call him a No. 1 receiver when he plays mostly out of the slot and is no longer a deep threat. Arizona doesn’t even have a legitimate No. 2 man here. They have a handful of No. 3’s and No. 4’s, maybe, and even that can be put up for debate. In a perfect world, the Cardinals are able to find a target with some size that can also gain separation to split safeties and make game-changing plays. They will either have to be incredibly lucky to find one or end up using one of their top picks to do it, which would take away from their top priorities.
Below is a list of all eight of the Cardinals’ picks, with players suggested by NFLDraftScout.com.
CARDINALS 2018 Draft (Eight picks)
Rd./overall pick: Player selected (*indicates compensatory pick)
1-15: Vita Vea, DT, Washington (6-4, 347, 5.10)
2-47: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State (6-5, 235, 4.90)
3-79: Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State (6-1, 205, 4.45)
*3-97: Chukwuma Okorafor, T, Western Michigan (6-6, 320, 5.31)
*4-134: Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon (5-11, 229, 4.54)
5-152: Levi Wallace, CB, Alabama (6-0, 179, 4.47)
6-182: Avonte Maddox, CB, Pittsburgh (5-9, 184, 4.39)
*7-254: Josh Kalu, S, Nebraska (6-0, 203, 4.58)